Meatless Mondays: Luna’s Living Kitchen

Meatless Mondays: Luna’s Living Kitchen

I was out of town, specifically in Charlotte this past weekend visiting family. We knew we would be leaving in the afternoon and wanted to stop by a raw vegan restaurant I found online: Luna’s Living Kitchen.

Since we are just getting home, I knew I would be in no mood to cook a meal and eat late so I thought I would share our meal at Luna’s Living Kitchen located in the South Bend of Charlotte. Even though I prefer to cook these meals, it’s good to know there are options everywhere to eat plant-based and even raw vegan!

We started off by sharing a sweet potato sushi roll. I decide to get a cacao smoothie and Jeff chose a Mango Tango. It had a kick of cayenne which we both enjoyed!

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Jeff had been eager to try the raw manicotti made with zucchini and cashew cream and tomato sauce. He added the lentil soup for warmth. The coolness of the manicotti threw him a little even though he was warned about it but neither of us could deny how tasty the cashew cream was and how well it mimicked the taste of ricotta cheese. I chose one of the warmer entree options: BBQ sliders. That was our favorite dish! The oyster mushrooms was such an amazing filler compared to mock meats like tofu, tempeh or jackfruit. When we come back to Charlotte, we are definitely coming back!

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The cashew cream was incredible!
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Our favorite dish topped with jalapeno slaw!

Meatless Mondays: Hearty Chickpea Pasta Soup

Meatless Mondays: Hearty Chickpea Pasta Soup

Tonight, hubby found the recipe on a website for No Meat Athlete. He and I are considering following their meal plans for a week to accelerate the process on our wellness journey. Plus, the site is full of whole foods plant-based recipes which I would like to cook regularly. It’s so easy to fall into the vegan junk food or takeout trap. It’s delicious but ultimately costly and more calorie laden than cooking at home. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
  • 1-2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon Dry Rosemary
  • 1 cup any Tomato Sauce
  • 6 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1 can (15 ounces) or 1.5 cups cooked Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Kale (about 8 leaves), preferably Lacinato (Dinosaur), torn into bite-size pieces, coarse stems removed
  • 4 ounces Whole Wheat or Alternative-Grain Linguine, broken into 1 to 2 inch lengths (or choose a bite-size pasta)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil, if using, in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. If not using oil, add a few splashes of water as needed to keep ingredients from drying and burning.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, vegetable stock, and chickpeas, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the kale and after about 5 minutes, add the pasta and stir occasionally. (This assumes your pasta will take 7 to 8 minutes to cook. If you’re using pasta that takes 12 to 15 minutes, add the pasta when you add the kale.)
  5. When the pasta is al dente, remove the soup from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with the remaining teaspoon of fresh rosemary and optionally, a drizzle of olive oil.

We loved it.. not oily and filling for sure! So glad we chose to sign up for these recipes!

 

Meatless Mondays: Black Bean Soup

Meatless Mondays: Black Bean Soup

I know I didn’t post a recipe last week but for some reason it felt like a lot longer. I have been working feverishly on a project that is coming to a close and it felt amazing to get back to Meatless Mondays by trying this recipe from allrecpies.com.

Here is the link: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/25333/vegan-black-bean-soup/

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion-chopped

4 cloves garlic-chopped

2 carrots

1 stalk of celery

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 pinch black pepper

4 cups vegetable broth

4 15 oz. cans of black beans

1 15oz can of whole kernel corn

1 14.5 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

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Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining 2 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

I was unsure how much I would like it without salt but the pepper, chili powder and cumin, onions and garlic provided more than enough flavor. It was relatively easy to make it and we both loved it!

 

Sometimes You Have to Say No

Sometimes You Have to Say No

I am currently working on a project that will be released very soon. As excited as I am about it, I am trying to meet a deadline. The pressure is self-imposed but I care about meeting it for myself.  I want to be confident in the work I am creating and if it takes time away from cooking and blogging about a meal here this evening, then it will just have to be.

It’s interesting that the more I try to stretch myself, the more obstacles seem to crop up. For instance, I was supposed to devote a lot of time Sunday to my project and finish up today. However, I didn’t plan for hubby to get violently ill and for me to take care of him in the wee hours of Sunday morning into the evening. Which also meant I didn’t sleep very well and tried to grab a few minutes of sleep here and there while checking on him. I am always happy to put him first but of course that means my head is not with the work nor should it be.

So I am adjusting. Saying no to driving to the store, scrambling to cook something, take photos and post about it.

Even though I know I have other work to do, on a laptop that decided to start giving me problems late last night as I tried to get more editing done, there is still a part of me that wants to say Yes and believe I can do it all. To take No out of the vocabulary.

But I am not listening. I am sticking with “No” because I don’t have longer than 24 hours in a day and it’s more than OK to acknowledge that.

Meatless Mondays: Walnut Meat Tacos

Meatless Mondays: Walnut Meat Tacos

Tonight, I am working on another writing project so I opted to make something quick and easy for Meatless Mondays: Walnut Meat Tacos. I have made walnut meat tacos in Romaine lettuce leaves but I opted for blue corn taco shells tonight. It’s not only quick and easy but tasty! Ever since being plant-based, I value spices more than ever and I realize all I have ever been interested in–with meat or vegetables–was the taste. No one likes a bland plate of either! I added a corn and bean salsa and sliced some avocado on the side and substituted liquid aminos for soy sauce. This recipe came from genius kitchen.

Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon paprika
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Spiced walnut “meat” after being pulsed in the food processor.

Directions:

  1. Put ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until course and crumbly. Don’t pulse for too long, or else you’ll end up with butter!

Enjoy! I know we will tonight!

Meatless Mondays: African Peanut Stew (vegan)

Meatless Mondays: African Peanut Stew (vegan)

Today, I decided to try something new: a vegan version of African Peanut Stew! I found several recipes online but decided I to go with the one on budgetbytes.com. I have actually never eaten it but I hope the recipe did the stew justice.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • inch fresh ginger
  • 1 medium sweet potato 
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup natural style chunky peanut butter
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 bunch 2-3 cups chopped collard greens
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro garnish (optional)

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel and grate the ginger using a small holed cheese grater. Mince the garlic. Sauté the ginger and garlic in vegetable oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic becomes soft and fragrant.
  2. Dice the onion, add it to the pot, and continue to sauté. Dice the sweet potato (1/2 inch cubes), add it to the pot, and continue to sauté a few minutes more, or until the onion is soft and the sweet potato takes on a darker, slightly translucent appearance. Season with cumin and red pepper flakes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and peanut butter, and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Add the vegetable broth and stir to dissolve the thick tomato paste-peanut butter mixture. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high.
  4. While the soup is coming up to a boil, prepare the collard greens. Rinse the greens well, then use a sharp knife to remove each stem (cut along the side of each stem). Stack the leaves, then cut them into thin strips. Add the collard strips to the soup pot.
  5. Once the soup reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer without a lid for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very soft. Once soft, smash about half of the sweet potatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to help thicken the soup. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (will depend on the brand of broth used).
  6. Serve the stew hot with a few cilantro leaves if desired.

RECIPE NOTES

Mustard greens or lacinato kale can be used in place of the collard greens.

The verdict: We loved it! Approved! Hubby just told me that the stew will definitely be gone tomorrow. I will put this in the rotation. It went really well with brown rice and we loved the crunch of the peanuts with the stew. One of the best yet!

 

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Today we were supposed to be celebrating New Year’s at my brother-in-law’s and bringing a dish. I didn’t buy everything I needed for soup joumou for Haitian Independence Day so we stuck with Vegan Shepherd’s pie from the minimalistbaker.com. I will definitely do a vegan soup joumou in the near future. It came out well, I might have let it bake a little long but I love how crisp the potato crust gets on top. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
FILLING
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (DIYor store-bought)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 10-ounce bag frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beans, and corn
MASHED POTATOES
  • 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, thoroughly washed
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions

  1. Slice any large potatoes in half, place in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium high heat, then generously salt, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
  2. Once cooked, drain, add back to the pot to evaporate any remaining water, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Use a masher, pastry cutter or large fork to mash until smooth. Add add desired amount of vegan butter (2-4 Tbsp), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Loosely cover and set aside.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish (or comparable sized dish, such as 9×13 pan. An 8×8 won’t fit it all but close!).
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil until lightly browned and caramelized – about 5 minutes.
  5. Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Then add lentils, stock, and thyme and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (35-40 minutes).
  6. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the frozen veggies, stir, and cover to meld the flavors together.
  7. OPTIONAL: To thicken the mixture, add 2-3 Tbsp mashed potatoes and stir. Alternatively, scoop out 1/2 of the mixture and whisk in 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder and whisk. Return to the pan and whisk to thicken.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then transfer to your prepared oven-safe baking dish and carefully top with mashed potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon or fork and season with another crack of pepper and a little sea salt.
  9. Place on a baking sheet to catch overflow and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the mashers are lightly browned on top.
  10. Let cool briefly before serving. The longer it sits, the more it will thicken. Let cool completely before covering, and then store in the fridge for up to a few days. Reheats well in the microwave.

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30- Minute Coconut Curry

30- Minute Coconut Curry

I found tonight’s recipe from the minimalist baker. Their recipe called for a coconut quinoa but I was not in a mood for quinoa. I decided to cook some brown rice instead. Here is the recipe for the coconut curry. Although I had vegetable broth, I chose to substitute with the Goya vegetable seasoning and water. I may have cooked the curry a bit too long because it wasn’t as thick as I would have liked but the flavors were all there. I also added a bit more curry powder so the color lost some of its brightness. All in all, I am glad I tried it!

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Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
CURRY
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (150 g)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp or 12 g)
  • 1 Tbsp (6 g) fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground)
  • 1/2 cup (45 g) broccoli florets (or green bell pepper), diced
  • 1/2 cup (64 g) diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup (45 g) diced tomato
  • 1/3 cup (28 g) snow peas (loosely cut)
  • 1 Tbsp (8 g) curry powder
  • optional: Pinch cayenne or 1 dried red chili, diced (for heat)
  • 2 14-ounce (396 g) cans light coconut milk (sub full-fat for richer texture)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) veggie stock (DIY or store-bought)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Heat a large saucepan or pot to medium heat and add 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, broccoli and a pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add curry powder, cayenne (or chili pepper), veggie stock, coconut milk, another healthy pinch of salt and stir. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat slightly and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the snow peas and tomatoes in the last 5 minutes so they don’t overcook.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added another pinch or two of salt.

How about all of you? Do you find yourself adjusting the recipe while cooking?

Meatless Monday: Easy Vegan Fettuccine

Meatless Monday: Easy Vegan Fettuccine

I decided to do something simple this time around and try the Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli from brandnewvegan.com. I was particularly excited about it because I had never tried to make an Alfredo sauce and my curiosity was piqued because the recipe called for potatoes, onion, spices and cashews to make the creamy sauce.

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Drained cashews that eventually became major part of a creamy Alfredo sauce!
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Here’s the “Alfredo” sauce. Loved the creamy consistency!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 Potatoes, quartered. (I recommend Yukon Golds)
  • ¼ onion (or the white part of 1 Leek), chopped
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 1 cup potato water used to boil potatoes
  • 1 Tbls Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice (I like 2 personaly)
  • 2-4 cloves Garlic (again, more is better for me)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1-2 Tbls Nutritional Yeast (optional if you don’t like Nooch)
  • Fettuccine Noodles
Instructions
  1. Soak cashews in 1 cup hot water while preparing sauce
  2. Peel potatoes if desired and quarter them
  3. Add potatoes and onion to a large pot and cover with cold water
  4. Once the water is boiling, cook for 10 minutes
  5. Remove veggies with a slotted spoon and add to blender
  6. Add 1 cup of the potato water
  7. Drain cashews and add to blender
  8. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  9. Add more water to get the consistency you desire
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  11. Prepare Fettuccini according to package instructions
  12. Add 1 bag frozen Broccoli during last 5 minutes of boil
  13. Drain thoroughly and stir in Alfredo Sauce

I can’t wait to make this again! Jeff and I both loved it. Speaking as someone who used to be a cheese addict, I was thoroughly impressed with this recipe.

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Tuna

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Tuna

Today, I decided to try vegan tuna. I saw a few videos online that made my mouth water and last week, I tried a version at Whole Foods that convinced me it was time to try it at home. A few of the recipes I saw included some kind of vegan mayonnaise which I like but I wanted to challenge myself to make the “mayo.”

The recipe I found was on www.brandnewvegan.com. I know hubby and I eat too much oil and this recipe was oil-free which made it an easy yes. As I was mashing the chickpeas with the potato smasher and fork, I loved watching the transformation of the consistency into something that definitely reminded me of tuna.  After I blended the cashew mixture, it really was a smooth, creamy dressing! I was probably a little too excited. It was definitely a recipe I would try again and I am looking forward to trying more recipes from this site.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • 15ox can low sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 2 tbls dill pickle relish
  • 3 tbls lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbls yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Add the cashews and water to your blender to let them soak
  2. Mash garbanzo beans in a large bowl using a potato masher, or fork
  3. Add diced veggies and stir
  4. All the remaining liquid ingredients to the blender with the cashews and water and pulse until smooth.
  5. Stir dressing into ‘tuna’ .
My husband and I both enjoyed our vegan tuna salad sandwiches and I am already looking forward to trying a new vegan recipe next Monday!